By Jerromie S. Walters

In accordance with Article 32 (b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, President George Weah, has requested extension of the Sixth Session of the 54th Legislature by ten (10) working days beginning Monday, December 11, 2023 and ending Friday, December 22, 2023.”

The President says the rationale for the request of extension is premised on matters of critical national concerns such as submission of the FY2024 National Budget and action on critical bills still pending before the Legislature.

“Hon. Speaker, as alluded to in my previous communication of November 24, 2023, the just ended Presidential and Legislative Elections impacted the preparation of the

Budget. Additionally, there are also bills of national interest still pending before the

Legislature, including key financing agreements, that require deliberation and action before the adjournment of the 54th Legislature.”

He adds- “We remain conscious and hopeful that this extension will avail time to the National Legislature to approve the National Budget and act upon other bills in the interest of our nation before the start of the next fiscal year.”

With this, the President urged the lawmakers’ consideration for the extension of the 54th Legislature for

reasons mentioned supra.

Recently, the House alerted that it was hoping to extend its regular session inorder to deliberate FY 2024 Draft National Budget owing to the delay in its submission by the Executive. It can be recalled, President George Manneh Weah Sr, requested an extension of the FY2024 Draft National Budget by twenty six (26) working days as of October 31, 2023.

“The basis for the request for extension is premised on the just ended Presidential and Legislative Elections which have impacted the preparation of the FY2024 National Budget”, President Weah added.  The Liberian Leader said as a result of these activities, the budget preparation process was continuously interrupted.

“These interruptions have caused a delay to the timely submission of the budget as stated in Section 17.1 of the Amended and Restated Public Financial Management Law of 2019, that the President shall submit the Proposed Budget and accompanying documents to the Legislature no later than two (2) months before the start of the fiscal year”, he maintained.

According to him, being conscious that this extension will reduce the time available to the National Legislature to approve the National Budget before the start of the next fiscal year, we also, do not want to undermine the important role of the IMF in these processes.

 “It is my hope that the additional time requested will also enable us to incorporate possible concerns of the IMF and other stakeholders thereby firming up the resources envelop along with priority expenditures that can be approved in time for the start of the new fiscal year on January 1, 2024”, President Weah stated.

In the wake of President George Manneh Weah’s plead, the draft national budget, was expected to be submitted on December 6, 2023. However, the House of Representatives, was expected to adjourn the 54th legislature on today, December 8, 2023, preceding the sitting of the 55th legislature in January 2024.

Given the date of submission which is the 6th of December, the body on Tuesday, November 28, 2023 during its 8th day sitting of the 3rd Quarter said it cannot deliberate and pass the Country’s National Development envelope within two days; therefore there is a high likelihood for extension to ensure an exhaustive discussion of the budget.